Senior Ethan Freeman set a new career-high with 24 points and recorded his ninth double-double of the season by adding 11 rebounds, but the Truman men’s basketball team couldn’t hold off No. 12 Fort Hays (Kan.) State in the second half on Thursday night, falling 81-74 in Pershing Arena.

Truman (6-14, 4-12 MIAA) opened up a 21-point first-half lead behind 58% shooting and carried a 48-29 advantage into the intermission against the 12th-ranked Tigers (20-3, 14-3 MIAA), who shot 47% in the first half but turned the ball over seven times to Truman’s none. The Bulldogs didn’t turn the ball over until the 18:21 mark of the second half and got a 12-point, six-rebound, six-assist performance from Freeman  in the first 20 minutes.

But the second half belonged to the Tigers, as FHSU started the frame on a 29-8 run to take a 58-56 lead behind a Dominique Jones three-pointer with 10:20 to play in the game. Hays would push the lead to ten at the 5:11 mark before the Bulldogs rallied to pull within four, 76-72, with 32 seconds to play. However, the Tigers would hit a layup and seal it from the free throw line for the 81-74 final. 

Freeman tied the Bulldog season-high by any player with his 24 points, coming on 10-of-15 shooting and a 4-for-7 effort from the charity stripe. The conference’s leading rebounder expanded his margin in that category as well, yanking down 11 rebounds and adding six assists to lead the ’Dogs. Tom Norton added 17 points – 14 in the first half – and Vesko Filchev  scored ten points in 17 minutes of action.

For the game, Truman shot 47% (27-for-58) from the field and 5-of-18 from three-point range. The Bulldogs were also 15-for-23 from the free throw line as a unit.